A coming-of-age horror film.
Project type: Narrative Short
Project status: Production
Director/Writer: Inka Rusi
Producer: Sara Fenton
Director of Photography: Richard Van
Executive Producer: Nina Menkes
Co-Producer & First AD: Tanja Rusi
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Set in Southern California in the late 1970s, Rift is a film about a teenage girl who tries to come to terms with her abusive father during a road trip to the desert.
It’s September 1975 in Southern California. Brenda, a tomboyish 14 year-old with long reddish hair and Wallace, her 47 year-old father are on a road trip to the desert to practice shooting – a hobby that they both share.
Soon after they arrive at the motel where they are spending the night, Brenda encounters a 16 year-old boy, Theo. The two have a flirtatious yet innocent moment, which Wallace observes through the motel room window. As Brenda heads back to the room, she is both exhilarated and confused, becoming aware of her own sensuality for the first time.
This has disturbing consequences that eventually lead her to perpetuate a cycle of violence in the outside world.
Rift acts as a prologue for a feature length film.
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Meet the Filmmakers
Inka Rusi — Director/Writer
Inka Rusi is a director and scriptwriter working between Los Angeles and Helsinki.
In 2017, Inka received a Fulbright fellowship to pursue a graduate degree in film directing at California Institute of the Arts, where her works were recognised with the Alison Doerner Award and have been selected for presentations at international festivals such as Cucalorus and New York No Limits. Inka is expected to graduate in 2020 with the support of the merit-based and competitive Thanks To Scandinavia Grant. Before CalArts Inka worked with the top production companies in her native Finland on productions such as Through The Supermarket in Five Easy Pieces, Laugh or Die, Devil’s Bride, Boy Upside Down and Emergency Call: A Murder Mystery. She has also worked on commercial productions for clients such as British ELLE, C More and MTV 3. She is also currently working closely with director Nina Menkes as creative producer on the feature length documentary film Brainwashed, executive produced by Tim Disney.
Inka was born in New York and grew up in a diplomatic family.
Sara Fenton — Producer
LA-based Fenton has produced short-form fiction, nonfiction, and 360-degree Cinematic VR experiences. As the former director of communications for USC’s Media Institute for Social Change, Sara champions socially-minded filmmakers, changing the world, one film at a time. Sara has worked on the award winning documentaries Al Imam, Raising Citizens of the World and Making a Murderer. Fenton’s films have screened at Slamdance, Cannes, Hot Docs, Cucalorus, Palm Springs and National Geographic.
Richard Van — Director of Photography
One of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film, Richard Van works both in fiction and documentary. His 2017 film Audition was screened at the 2018 Slamdance Film Festival and won best live-action short at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. He holds an MFA Film directing from CalArts as well as a B.A. in Philosophy from University of California, Berkeley. His CalArts thesis film HIẾU premiered at the 2019 Festival de Cannes for its Cinéfondation Selection where it won Deuxième Prix.
Nina Menkes — Executive Producer
Nina Menkes is a faculty member at the California Institute of the Arts and an established, award-winning writer, director, cinematographer and editor. Her films have won accolades world-wide and showed at major international film festivals including Sundance, Rotterdam, Locarno, London, Viennale, Berlin, Cairo, Toronto, as well as at La Cinematheque Francaise, The British Film Institute, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the MOMA in New York, MOCA and LACMA in Los Angeles.
Tanja Rusi — Assistant Director and Co-Producer
Tanja Rusi is a London-based art director turned filmmaker and co-founder of Onerva Pictures, a new independent film production company. Before founding Onerva Pictures, Tanja worked as a video art director for over ten years for some of the world’s most recognisable magazine brands such as Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, Elle, Wired and GQ. She has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Arts London, in Communication Design, specialising in moving image.
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